Saturday, January 29, 2011

Boomer generation running into a transportation "no win"

I was channel surfing the other night and landed on a PBS show that caught my interest.
The show was talking about how the Boomers were growing older by the day and since most of them (myself included) live in suburbs we're running into a problem.
Suburbs are not known for their mass transit because since the 50's the mode of transportation has always been the car.
As the Boomers have aged our modes of mass transportation have not kept up with a massive generation of people that have always placed the family car as the only form of transportation.

Be it lack of foresight by local and state governments, or just an unwillingness to get on a bus or light rail, Boomers approaching 65 or 70 are finding that living in the suburbs can become an increasingly inconvenient and difficult problem with no convenient mass transit.

I've been complaining for 25 years about the lack of a decent light rail or subway in my home city of Denver, which is similar to most U.S. cities in the west in the fact that local governments spent millions on study after study examining trains and light rail in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere and then never progressing beyond studies to actually build a light rail or some form of good public transit.
Now we have an aging generation, the largest in American history, with no decent way for them to get around and since everything in the burbs is not within walking distance older people are forced to drive or depend on their children.

This is a serious situation as gas prices are predicted to rise through 2011-2012 possibly to as much as $4 a gallon. While many seem to think high gas prices are "good" for America causing us to drive electric cars, biking to work, or riding mass transit, in the western U.S. this is just not realistic. Particularly as the Boomer generation ages.

Older workers and those just retiring will be faced with massive gasoline costs monthly and in the weakest economy in 50 years calling this situation "good" for America is heartless and hypocritical.
Mass transit must be improved in the suburbs of most American cities and governments AND the private sector must find a way to do it or we're going to have in 20-30 years a lot of house bound retirees and older workers with no way to get around and living in sub standard conditions.

Remember, I'm Just the Sax Player

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